Interior eyes micro drones

Interior eyes micro drones

The Department of Interior is considering beefing up its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles with the addition of up to 100 micro drones.

In a recent Interior said it want to identify parties that can provide small, rotary-powered commercial unmanned aerial systems similar to 3DR Solo for Interior’s Office of Aviation Services. Contractors could be awarded a five-year contract to provide an estimated 100 micro UAS.   

A micro UAS would weigh less than five pounds, according to Brad Koeckeritz, Interior’s division chief for unmanned aircraft systems.  “There are a host of missions that they could potentially be used for across the department,” he said, including those listed in Interior’s 2015 UAS Integration Strategy.

According to that plan, the drones could help with Interior’s population surveys of threatened species, habitat surveys, erosion mapping, boundary assessment and invasive species detection, abandoned solid waste assessments and burned-area assessments. 

The micro UAS would add to Interior’s current  drone fleet which includes 69 AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven aircraft, 57 AeroVironment RQ-11A Raven aircraft, 44 Honeywell RQ-16C T-Hawk rotorcraft and 5 MLB Super Bat aircraft.

Responses to the solicitation are due Feb. 18, 2016. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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